Thursday, April 30, 2020

8 Essential Tips For Surviving ( & Thriving) When Doing An Advanced Degree

Whether it's a master's or a PhD, studying for an advanced degree can be both pleasurable and painful. After all, few people in this world get to look into so much depth at a subject that fascinates them as advanced degree students. 

However, studying for a master's or a PhD can include a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears! In fact, they say that if you don’t hate your thesis by the end of your PhD, you're not doing it right! The good news is that you can make the entire advanced degree experience a little easier on yourself by using the advice in the post below. Read on to find out what they are. 

Advanced degrees are marathons, not sprints

When studying for a PhD or masters, you need to remember that working too hard can actually sabotage your motivation and your chances of doing well. 

In fact, it can really help to think of this type of degree as a marathon rather than a sprint. That is you need to pace yourself and make sure you get enough rest and recuperation, and that you have other things going on in your life as well as study. Otherwise, you may find yourself running out of steam way before the finish line. 

Breaks are not unproductive

Talking of taking care of yourself, to survive an advanced degree, you absolutely need to get into the habit of taking well space breaks throughout your day. In fact, there are some serious advantages to doing this. Not least the fact that it will allow your brain to unwind. Something that can help you retain your sense of objectivity and perspective when it comes to written assignments. 

Additionally, taking regular breaks is a fantastic way to manage your stress levels. Something that will ensure that you don't push yourself so hard that the rest of your life suffers. Therefore, taking 10 minutes here and there for fun activities like playing a video game, reading for fun or some art is a brilliant idea. 

Of course, if you are worried that a ten-minute break will turn into a whole afternoon where you haven't done anything you can use the Pomodoro method. That is 30-40 mins of focused work with a 10 min break after. A technique that students and business people alike use to their benefit, all over the world. 

Be part of the community

What with everyone being online now, there are active communities for just about every topic under the sun. This means that even if you are doing the most academic of studies, there will be others that have similar interests as you. Something that can be very useful if you need a particular paper, some advice, or a connection in another institution. 

To that end, making sure that you join hands and interact with people in these communities is essential. In fact, doing so can help in so many ways. Not least, by having a community of people that are studying at the same level as you, you will feel less alone in your advanced degree struggles. 

Be a part of your department

In addition to being part of the community that surrounds your specialism online, it's a pretty smart idea to be an active member of your department at university as well. Now, don't panic because this doesn't mean that you have to take on additional responsibilities in your already very packed schedule.

In fact, just knowing who to go to get a course changed, of the right form for submitting an assignment can help. Additionally, making connections with other advanced students and the staff that take care of them is beneficial as well. After all, this is a howl section of people that will know precisely what you are going through, and that can offer all sorts of support and help. 

Get a handle on your research requirement 

Research is a significant part of most advanced degrees, Although this can be a bit of a shock to the system if you haven't had to conduct your own before. In fact, students that do really well in typical assignment tasks can buckle when it comes to the search element of their degree because it's so unfamiliar to them. 

Fortunately, there are a few guidelines you can follow that will help you be just as good as research as you are at the rest of your advanced course. The first is to know what you are letting yourself in for before you even begin. That is you need to have a good grasp of the type of research you will need to do, as well as some idea about what you would like to look into. 

Additionally, taking advantage of any classes that your institution offers on research is always a smart idea. In fact, you will find that many universities offer courses that cover practical research in your field, just as Bradley University does for the field of education. Therefore even if they are not a required part of your syllabus sitting in on these is smart if you want to be able to excel in this part of your degree. 

Attend conferences

Conferences may sound scary, but they can actually be a lot of fun. In fact, they can be fabulous places to meet other people in your field, in person as well as get feedback on your theories and research so far. 

You may even wish to present at a conference if the opportunity arises, something that will help to get your name out there in your field of expertise. 

Remember your goals

It's time to get realistic. The truth of the matter is, if you are studying for an advanced degree, you will struggle at some point. Everybody does. That doesn't mean you should just give it all up and do something else, though. 

In fact, instead, you need to have a plan in place for when the low times inevitably happen. The good news is that you can often push through the lack of motivation by having a very clear set of reasons for why you are doing such a degree in the first place. 

For example, you may write down that you want to do a specific job that requires this qualification. But don't stop there, record all the benefits that getting this job will give you as well. Such as fulfilling work, a good salary, the size and type of house you want, etc. In fact, it is remembering these things that will get you through the hard times. 

Have a plan for deadlines 

Next, if you want to thrive as well as just survive your advanced degree experience, you need to have a plan to rely on when it comes close to deadline time. Yes, the most stressful time of all. After all, things will get more complicated, just before your assignments are due in. Especially if you need to carry on working or have other responsibilities to deal, and things can quickly become overwhelming. 

Of course half the battle is being organised enough that you have the majority of the work done as the deadline approaches. However, you’ll often be surprised as to how much time and effort editing and rewriting can be. With that in mind, you may need to block out some time where you have nothing else to worry about than your project. Just a few days will do. Then you can maintain your regular life, as well as thrive at your advanced degree! 


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